If you’re looking for a quiet beach town along Florida’s panhandle to call home, look no further than Navarre. Nestled between Destin and Pensacola along Highway 98, Navarre is surrounded by the beautiful emerald-green waters of the Gulf Coast. This low-crime, peaceful community is home to mostly military families and retirees. Once known as Florida’s best-kept secret and now recently labeled as Florida’s most relaxing place, it is essentially both.
Navarre’s natural beauty is untouched, and you won’t be bombarded with touristy restaurants or an excess of infrastructure that blocks the pristine views of this quiet beach town. Intrigued? If so, let’s explore this little slice of paradise more in-depth.
What Is The Community Known For?
When you come to the beach, sharks may be looming in the back of your mind. After all, the ocean is their home. But what we’re talking about are fake sharks. As it turns out, many scenes from the movie, Jaws 2, were filmed in Navarre Beach in 1977, so the next time you’re in Navarre, you just may recognize something from the movie.
This community is also known for its laid-back beach feel and carefree living. There are scenic jogging and bike paths along Highway 399, which runs from Navarre Beach to Pensacola Beach. Navarre is also known for having the best seashells and sand dollars that wash ashore.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Whatever kind of food you’re in the mood for, Navarre will not disappoint. Whether you crave Mexican food, American street food, Japanese, or seafood, the choices are plentiful. Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights, but keep in mind these restaurants only scratch the surface.
Johnny Huston’s Grille and Bar
Located in the heart of Navarre along Highway 98, this local dive was voted as having the best burger on the Emerald Coast. They use only fresh beef and ingredients, and their food is never frozen. They have just about any kind of food you can think of and are a local favorite.
This little coffee shop offers much more than just coffee. They offer breakfast and lunch and are located close to the Navarre Beach Causeway on Highway 98. They specialize in Cuban and Mexican dishes and have earned a spot as a local favorite.
East Bay Crab House
This place will curve your seafood cravings. They have an extensive menu of seafood favorites: shrimp, fish, crab legs, and steaks. They also feature daily specials.
TC’s Front Porch
This joint is a true local dive bar. They have indoor and outdoor seating with open windows so you can breathe in the salt air. Located close to the Navarre Beach Causeway, the casual atmosphere of this place is nothing but laid-back and beachy. TC’s is a great place to grab some good ole bar food before heading to the beach.
Oishii Japanese Sushi and Grill Restaurant
If sushi is what you crave, this place is for you. They are plenty of sushi rolls to choose from, and they offer a 10% military discount.
Scooter’s Fish House
This is a small dine-in and quick-service seafood restaurant. Located on Highway 87 in the heart of Navarre, this place serves fresh seafood daily from the fishing boats in Destin. You can dine-in or grab it to go.
Alphy’s Family Restaurant
If breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, then look no further than Alphy’s. Serving up mouth-watering breakfast and lunches, Alphy’s is a must-do. Their breakfast menu has many favorites, including eggs benedict, pancakes, omelets, biscuits and gravy, and more. You won’t be disappointed if you love catfish, as they are known for their infamous southern catfish dish.
Juana’s Pagodas & Sailors’ Grill
This local favorite has been in operation since 1989 and holds the title of the oldest family-owned restaurant and bar in Navarre. If you want a night out on the town, this is the place. They have live music in the pagoda on the weekends and a DJ in the club. The Big Pagoda is a round bar with a sand floor, giving it a true beach feel. It’s located right on Navarre Beach after the Navarre Beach Causeway.
Windjammers on the Pier
This local dive is located at the beginning of the Navarre Beach Pier, which is the longest pier in Florida and the Gulf. They have live music most nights with amazing views of the crystal-clear waters. You can grab a bite to eat, too.
The Vine Wine Bar, Bistro and Shoppe
Live music fills the air on Saturday nights here with some of the best local talent around. Enjoy your favorite bottle of vino paired with a scrumptious Panini or flatbread. You can even purchase bottles of wine on-site. They have over 180 varieties of wine and 20 bottles of local and boutique craft beers.
Schools and Education
You don’t have to travel outside of Navarre for your child’s education. West Navarre and Intermediate School cover PK and grades 3-5 with 996 students. Holley-Navarre Intermediate covers K-1 and grades 3-7 with 916 students. Lastly, Navarre High School is the largest high school in Santa Rosa County, with over 2300 students. It covers grades 9-12 and placed in the top 30% of all Florida schools in overall test scores. These schools are in the Santa Rosa County School District.
A gentleman named Guy Wyman founded Navarre in 1925. Wyman was a colonel in the United States Army, and after serving in World War I, he wanted to move to Navarre, a place his family used to visit. While serving in the war, he met a French nurse named Noel. Wyman wanted to bring her back to the United States and marry her, but the only way he could get her here was by adopting her, and that’s what he did. It was Noel who named the land, naming it after a province in Spain near France. Once the Great Depression hit, Wyman could no longer pay the taxes on the land and was forced to sell it off piece-by-piece, making Navarre a public land.
Navarre has an abundance of antique shops and neat little museums to explore, including the Navarre Black Hawk Memorial and the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station located in Navarre Beach Maritime Park. If you like to snorkel and scuba dive, the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary can get you set up with tanks and gear to explore the abundance of sea life Navarre has to offer.
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